Friday, April 24, 2009

Gautier is right when he says Sri Aurobindo’s legacy is undervalued in India

from PP Raghavachary date 24 Apr 2009 06:57 subject responses on the Stroy
These are the responses on the Stroy "A Fatherhood More Equal? (Apr 13)" published by OUTLOOK, These letters appeared in the current issue dated 27.04.09

Tales Of Our Fathers A Fatherhood More Equal? Apropos Francois Gautier’s piece, A Fatherhood More Equal? (Apr 13), it was Aurobindo who stood for complete independence, for which India was "entitled to attain its freedom by violence, if it can do so, or if there is no other way". It is wrong to say that many disciples of Aurobindo and the Mother today have swept under the carpet their conviction that ‘dharma’ should be protected, if necessary, by force. Like Gandhiji, he felt a strong spiritual dimension in the quest for freedom. Sri Aurobindo shared his birthday with our Independence day, and explained that it was "not as a coincidence or fortuitous accident, but as a sanction and seal of the Divine Power which guides my steps on the work with which I began life". Shall we say Sri Aurobindo is the spiritual father of the nation? Col C.V. Venugopalan (retd), Palakkad, Kerala

As Peter Heehs writes in his excellent The Lives of Sri Aurobindo, one should never lose sight of the fact that similarities between the freedom movement-era religious nationalism and contemporary Hindu right-wing nationalism "are superficial while the points of difference are deep". Heehs writes further, "Aurobindo favoured an eclectic, Vedantic Hinduism, which he believed to be universal. But this ‘wider Hinduism’ was something that embraced ‘science and faith, Theism, Christianity, Mohammedanism and Buddhism and yet is none of these’." "The Hindu nation-builder," Aurobindo wrote, "shall not seek to superimpose his own ideals and methods on his Mohammedan brother, nor shall the Mohammedan, the Buddhist or the Christian seek to obliterate the essential characteristics of the Hindu culture and Hindu race". Ulrich M., Pondicherry

A great yogi like Aurobindo, in tune with the absolute, can release spiritual forces which will influence human behaviour in such a way that we will overcome differences and work together to achieve even the most impossible tasks. No wonder India’s independence arrived on his birthday. Subramania Bharati’s poems, many of which were written in Pondicherry, were also a spiritual contribution to the hastening of independence. V. Seshadri, Chennai

Gautier’s radical views have been more Hindu than those of the Hindutva brigade. He is welcome to his views, but to place Aurobindo on a higher pedestal than Gandhiji is a bit hard to swallow. Undoubtedly, Aurobindo was a great saint, poet and writer. But he merely wrote about and meditated and wished India’s independence. Gandhiji went out and played a huge part in the achievement of it. Furthermore, Gandhi was a great saint in his own right too. Suresh A., Tiruvannamalai

Rather than trying to dwarf Gandhiji vis-a-vis Aurobindo, all Gautier says is that as a Frenchman, if his country had the fortune to have a great man like Aurobindo, his memory would have been honoured, his poetry, philosophy would have been taught and he would have been idolised as a national icon, while he is largely ignored in India. Gautier is right, and I agree with him. Vijay A., Northampton, UK

Gautier is right when he says Sri Aurobindo’s legacy is undervalued in India. Our country, unfortunately, has this tragic tradition of worshipping false prophets. Naropa Ray, Mumbai 01:16:31PM (IST) MORE MAIL

1 comment:

  1. And what about the legacy of Swami Vivekananda too?

    After all the Swami was the first to bring the Dharma of India to the West.

    He also was responsible for planting a seed which flowered in the Vedanta Temple in Hollywood on Sept 10th 1970.